(To conclude the Ar nDraiocht Fein Druid Dedicants program, the Dedicant is required to perform an oath ritual...)

Monika's Dedicant's Oath Ritual

I performed my dedicant oath after work on the winter solstice (December 21, 2006). I began my preparations the night before, and went shopping for supplies the morning of the 21st. I planned to do a full ADF-style ritual, with my dedicant oath as the final praise offering.

Although I would not be able to begin my ritual at sunset (as I was working), I took along a handmade picture of a candle with flame in front of the bright yellow sun. When the sun went down, I was able to take a few minutes to go outside, look at my picture and then up at the sky, and speak words of encouragement for the sun's hidden journey. When I arrived home from work around midnight, I set up my altar in my bedroom, and gathered all my needed materials for my full, official ritual.

I began the ritual with three chimes, and honored both the Earth Mother and the directions with my words. As I made my way from north to east, and then south to west, I noticed that I had accidentally started speaking about north while facing east! I had a quick laugh, which helped to dissolve my tension and nervousness, and continued with the ritual. Manannan assisted me with the opening of the gates, and I could actually feel a breeze from the Otherworld flow through my altar.

For the outsiders, I honored those traditions that didn't necessarily fit within ADF's Indo-European focus (i.e., Buddhism, Kemetism, etc.). Also, I asked that all who would dissuade me from my purpose, even my negative emotions, to leave and take pleasure from a feathered pen that I offered. They remained content with this trinket during my ritual.

Next, I invited the Three Kindred, and I called in all my gods, ancestors, and nature spirits to bear witness to my oath. I offered sweet-smelling herbs, such as rosebuds, basil, mugwort, and other plants. As each member of the Kindred arrived at my "party," I could feel the room get warmer, and the energy of the ritual increase.

Finally, I invited my four patrons (two from the Celtic culture and two from the Germanic culture). First, I called for Manannan Mac Lir, who has been my patron since November 20, 2004. I spoke to him words of comfort, love, and appreciation, and I offered him an apple inscribed with his name and druid symbols, as well as half of a Guinness beer. Next, I called on Brigit, who was the first Shining One to begin a relationship with me. I spoke to her about her assistance and guidance while I work to heal others, and her inspiration in my music. I offered her some incense and the other half of the Guinness, as well as an acapella song that I created just for her. I asked for Odin next, and spoke to him about his constant thirst for knowledge, which I hope to emulate. I offered him half of a Becks beer, as well as my dedication to create a new set of runes in honor of him. Last but never least, I called for Freya, who has motivated me to complete the dedicant's program, and who has many wonderful spiritual things planned for me. I spoke to her about honoring my oaths, and my love for her kitties. She received the other half of the Becks beer, as well as catnip and cat's claw bark for offerings.

At this moment, with everyone being called to witness my oath, I took a deep breath, and began speaking. I promised to honor my community, and each community that I travel to, as well as revere all the Kindred in all their forms. I promised to never stop learning, and to forever grow in my spirituality. And finally, I promised to help others along the path, to advise but never force another, and to fulfill my role in the ADF community (i.e., groves), whatever it may be.

When I completed my oath, I felt so full of energy and goodwill that I didn't think I could stand up for much longer. My hands moved to my rune set, to see how everything had been accepted. For my first question ("Have you accepted my praise offerings?"), I received Ansuz, which I interpreted as both communication as a blessing, and the beginning of a magical voyage. Next, I asked if my dedicant oath had been accepted. I received Laguz, which I interpreted as fertility, and the ocean as an overflowing of blessings (I interpreted this as a particular blessing from Manannan!). Finally, I asked if the Kindred had anything to offer me, and I received Ehwaz, which I interpreted as companionship, joy, pride, boasting, and counsel from the gods.

All these wonderful omens brought both wonder and tearful joy to my soul, and I decided right then and there to meet with the gods in their own realm, and go on a trance journey for more specific guidance. I grabbed my mp3 player, put on my headphones, and started one of my drumming tracks. At first, I had a hard time relaxing, because of all my excitement. I also had difficulty reaching my "starting point," because I realized that I had already invited the three Kindred to my apartment, so there was no place for me to meet them! Finally, as the candlelight fluttered in my room, I felt myself instantly transported to a sort of campfire, with my four patrons sitting on a log directly across from me. I was ecstatic, and quickly sat up to hug everyone.

The happiness was evident in all their mannerisms, although I was unable to see anyone's face. They asked me what I wanted to know, and I reminded Freya that she has spoke up during the warrior's ritual at Summerland this past year: when I have completed my dedicant program, she has more in store for me. I wanted clarification, and was told that I would be receiving a great gift, the gift of communication without words. My patrons spoke about how I had already started learning this "instinctual language" through my counseling practice, and that they would help me to "increase my fluency." I was stunned into silence, and blown away by the enormity of the gift.

We began to talk of more mundane things, such as my simple day-to-day problems and choices that I hoped to make in the future, when I asked what my role would be in ADF. Would I be a seer, a healer, or even a warrior? My blessings included all of these, with the purpose that I would use the knowledge gained from these roles to fulfill my primary role, that of a spiritual teacher. Again, I was completely flabbergasted, and humbled by their faith and support. At this time, I felt overwhelmed, and asked to leave their campfire. My wish was granted, and I gave hugs to all before leaving (Manannan made sure to give my butt a quick pinch!). I came out of the trance, full of the inexplicable, and ready to end the rite.

I stood in front of my altar, and gave my heartfelt thanks to all who bore witness to my oath, and the wonderful gifts that came after. I thanked my patrons and wished them goodbye, and continued giving thanks and farewells to the three Kindred and the Earth Mother. At the end, Manannan assisted me with closing the gates, and I again thanked everyone before declaring, "This rite has ended!"

I feel that my ritual and oath went wonderfully, and that I would not change a single thing. I do not like to use scripts in my ritual, preferring my invocations to come directly from my own inspiration. I believe that many Kindred witnessed this monumental occasion, and that it was accepted by all. I look forward to utilizing my new "gifts," as well as growing in my spirituality. My dedicant's oath was not the end of a journey (i.e., the finale of my dedicant program), but rather the turning point: I am now ready for new adventures, and new abilities.